With the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo adding £80 million to Sir Alex Ferguson’s usual £25-30 million yearly budget. A summer spending spree is surely on the cards. Looking at the side, it would appear to me a winger and some quality in centre midfield are needed, with possibly, a striker as the icing on the cake.
Looking at the players linked to Old Trafford, it would seem we have some familiar names.
Luis Antonia Valencia – £15-18 Million
A flying right-winger has player over 80 games for Wigan and looks a very tidy player. His premier League experience will mean he can fit right into the side and wont need much time to settle. Nominated for the Best Young Player at the 2006 World Cup it appears the 23 year old who has 34 caps for Ecuador has a bright future. Some downsides may be the size of the fee, and doubts as to whether or not he is better than what United already have. In addition, his goal scoring record is quite woeful with only 7 goals during his time at Wigan and only 4 for Ecuador, he does have potential, but I only see him as a squad player at most. Wigan Chaiman Dave Whelan will not stand in his way and Sir Alex is a long time admirer, this transfer is pretty much nailed on.
Franck Ribery – £40-50 Million
A world-class player, a player, who would be the ideal replacement for the departing Cristiano Ronaldo. Apparently United put in a £60 million bid a few months ago and Sir Alex is keen to have him as part of the Old Trafford set up. His abilities are unquestioned, great dribbler, pace and immense skill, he also added goals to his repertoire scoring 14 in all competitions this season. Bayern have stated they would not keep him against his will and he has stated his desire to play in Spain. United would have a fight on their hands to persude him his future lies in Manchester, added to the hefty fee; Barcelona and Real Madrid are also circling thus increasing the price further.
Karim Benzema – £30-40 Million
The next great French striker in my opinion, and at 21 years old has plenty of time on his side. A seasoned Champions League performer, 24 caps for France and over 50 goals for Lyon in two seasons. He is tall, powerful and strong yet possesses pace coupled with a deadly eye for goal. Lyon have said he is not ‘untransferable’ and Ferguson has had an eye on him for years. The only issue would be his intention to stay in France during a World Cup year to maintain his place for Les Bleus.
David Silva – £30-35 Million
A player I like a lot, he has pace, skill, vision, great technical ability and a lethal shot on him. Part of Spain’s Euro 2008 winning team he can play on either flank and behind the strikers. With Valencia harbouring a mountain of debt and in dire need to sell, Silva’s days are numbered at the Mestalla. Ferguson bid for him last summer and another attempt appears to be on the horizon, but with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool all interested, competition will be fierce for el Chinito. For me he would be an excellent addition and should be pursued vigerously.
David Villa – £35-40 Million
If a well-known brewer made strikers they would probably make David Villa. As with his namesake Silva, his days at Valencia appear to be numbered due to the moeny he would bring in to help clear debts. A fantastic goal scorer and leader of the Spanish front line, a transfer to Real Madrid collapsed last season and it could be the same again this season. Although it looks far more likely he will remain in Spain, Chelsea and Liverpool have both announced interest but United have apparently put in a cheeky bid. Villa would add some much needed goals previously brought to the Stretford End by Ronaldo. A transfer to United however, seems just out of reach.
Mirko Vucinic £20-25 Million
The 25 year old Montenegrin currently ply’s his trade for AS Roma. This season having established himself as Roma’s number one striker, he has scored a number of important goals including two against Chelsea in the Champions League. With an impressive record of 48 goals in 83 games for the Giallorossi, he seems ready to step up another level and play for a top European club. Along with his excellent finishing ability he is also versatile, playing as a left-winger, and behind the striker during his time in Rome. Coupled with Roma’s lack of Champions League football and huge debts, it may be time to cash in on a very saleable asset.
Douglas Maicon – £30-35 Million
The Inter right back is arguably the best in the business. He controls the right side, from corner to corner, strong in the tackle and great positional sense; he bombs forward with consummate ease to deliver a phenomenal quantity of crosses. Athletic and agile, he could be the answer on the right side. Sir Alex tried to sign him in 2003 but was refused a work permit. Reportedly unhappy in Italy, a move appears ever closer for the Brazilian.
Honourable mentions must go to Victor Valdes of Barcelona and Douglas Costa of Gremio. Both have been on the radar but I don’t see any developments in the near future at least.
Every one of the above has been linked with Manchester United at some point over the last few weeks. For me a ball winning midfielder should be high on the list of priorities though the rumour mill seems obsessed with attacking players.
A very eventful summer could come into fruition very soon and you may well find a few new faces strutting their stuff in the Theatre of Dreams.
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